Today’s topic at Top Ten Tuesday is about books we struggled with, in whichever interpretation of that you’d like. I decided to split my list into two categories: the books I struggled with and ultimately abandoned, and the books I struggled with but paid great rewards by the end.
1. Dietland by Sarai Walker – This was easy to read, but extremely difficult for me emotionally, as it kept acting as a trigger and causing painful anxieties opposite of what the book intended. I abandoned it about 75% through.
2. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by DH Lawrence – This was just a flat-out chore to read. I didn’t care about any of the characters or the story. In fact, I abandoned this only a chapter from the end because I just didn’t care what happened. I’ve since read more by Lawrence and have felt the same about all his books. His writing and I don’t get along, I suppose.
3. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde – I’ve tried reading this one half a dozen times, both in print and audio. I loved the first two books of this series and in general love Fforde but for some reason I just can’t make it through this one! I’m sure I’ll keep trying though.
4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – This is another I’ve tried multiple times both in print and audio, but I just find the characters so distasteful that I’ve never made it past the halfway point. I even tried watching the movie, hoping that would stir some interest in finishing the book (it’s worked with other classics I struggle with!) but I found the movie just as distasteful…
5. the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan – I’ve tried and tried and tried. I really just want to get to the end book but MAN this series is a chore. I’m sure I’ll try again at some point.
6. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – I can’t say I enjoyed this book at all. However, my classics book club discussed this one at one of our first meetings, and the literary threads all through the book were so fascinating and discussion-worthy that I’m happy to have read the full book.
7. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – I’m told that this one is easy to read in the original language, but the translation made me struggling. I had trouble connecting to either narrator – until a third person was introduced and tied everything together. The structure of the book and the way things fit by the end totally made up for my struggles at the beginning!
8. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – This is another like Madame Bovary, extremely difficult to finish through to the end but rewarding once discussed in the light of literary significance.
9. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan – This book made me so uncomfortable in places and stretched the limits of what I can bear in fiction. Despite that, it was an ultimately beautiful book that remains vivid in my memory years after reading.
10. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – The hardest thing about this book was the way it set up the conflict between those living in Nigeria and those trying to conquer it. It would be hard to describe in a tiny paragraph here, so I’ll do what I don’t usually do in these TTT posts and actually link back to my original review of Things Fall Apart if you want details. It was this struggle, which the author created deliberately, that ultimately made the book more poignant and heartrending and real.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.